Monday, January 23, 2012

Case Study No. 0187: Gloria Mundy and Stella

Tags: goldie hawn foul play chevy chase marilyn sokol colin higgins yt:stretch=16:9
Added: 1 year ago
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[Gloria and Stella are returning from their shift at the library and are walking through the park]
STELLA: Really, Gloria! You know the percentage of rapes from hitchhikers? Have you any idea?
STELLA: Plenty! And look at you, with no protection!
GLORIA: Well, he didn't seem to be after sex--
STELLA: Rape is not an act of sex! Rape is an act of violence, remember that!
[they sit down on a bench]
STELLA: Suppose that guy attacked you, instead of pulling that weird stunt in the theater, huh? What would you have done?
[she stops to think about it]
GLORIA: I would have hit him with my umbrella.
STELLA: Talk about ancient! Really, honey, you gotta drag yourself into the '70s! You gotta get some merchandise!
[she opens her purse and pulls out a small transistor-radio looking object]
STELLA: See this? It's called The Screamer. They make a grab for your tits, you just flick the switch.
[she turns it on, and it emits a high-pitched whine that bothers nearby people and dogs ... Gloria looks around, then tries to cover her face in embarrassment; this doesn't deter Stella, as she turns off The Screamer and takes out a can of mace]
STELLA: Then, you got your mace. Zap! Right in the face!
[she then takes a pair of brass knuckles out of her purse and puts them on]
STELLA: And finally, for infighting, the punch of power ... Crunch! Right in the nuts!
GLORIA: [smiles] You certainly are prepared ...
STELLA: Nobody's gonna mess with Stella, unless Stella wants to be messed.
GLORIA: [shakes her head] I dunno, all this stuff ...
STELLA: Gloria, sweetheart, we live in a violent society. Weirdoes all around. Get them before they get you.



Foul Play is a 1978 American comic mystery/thriller film written and directed by Colin Higgins. In it, a recently divorced librarian is drawn into a mystery when a stranger hides a roll of film in a pack of cigarettes and gives it to her for safekeeping.

Recent divorcee Gloria Mundy (Goldie Hawn) is a San Francisco librarian. While attending a party, she is encouraged by a friend to leave herself open to new experiences. On the way home, Gloria picks up an attractive man named Bob "Scotty" Scott (Bruce Solomon) when she encounters him and his disabled car on Highway 1. She impulsively invites him to join her at the movies that evening, and before they part ways he asks her to take his pack of cigarettes in order to help him curb his smoking. Unbeknownst to her, Scotty has secreted a roll of film in the pack. That evening, a seriously wounded Scotty meets Gloria in the theater and warns her to "beware of the dwarf" before dying. When his body mysteriously disappears while Gloria seeks help from the theater manager, she is unable to convince anyone of what has transpired.

At the end of the following work day, Gloria is attacked in the library by albino Whitey Jackson (William Frankfather). She manages to escape and seeks refuge with Stanley Tibbets (Dudley Moore), a would-be ladies' man who assumes she is picking him up to have sex. Shocked by his misunderstanding, she flees and returns to her apartment, where she is attacked by a man with a scar who demands the cigarette pack Bob had given her. When he attempts to strangle her with a scarf, Gloria stabs him in the stomach with a pair of knitting needles and calls the police for help. When her attacker tries to stop her, he is killed by Whitey through the kitchen window, and Gloria faints. When she awakens, all traces of what has happened have disappeared, and she is unable to convince San Francisco Police detectives Tony Carlson (Chevy Chase) and his partner Inspector "Fergie" Ferguson (Brian Dennehy) or even her landlord Mr. Hennessy (Burgess Meredith) that she was attacked.

Gloria is abducted by Turk Farnum (Ion Tedorescu), the chauffeur of a limousine in which she earlier had seen Whitey riding, but she manages to subdue him with Mace and brass knuckles given to her by her friend and fellow library employee, Stella (Marilyn Sokol). Later, Tony takes her to his Sausalito houseboat, where the two become involved romantically. Upon further investigation, Tony discovers that a contract killer named Rupert Stiltskin (alias "the Dwarf") was under investigation by an undercover detective named Bob "Scotty" Scott, who had received a tip that a major assassination would take place in the city on a certain night. Lt. Carlson is now assigned to protect Gloria from her would-be killers.

When Tony and Fergie discover that the limousine is registered to the Archdiocese of San Francisco, they visit the office of Archbishop Thorncrest (Eugene Roche), unaware that the man they're interviewing is in fact the Archbishop's twin brother Charlie, who is involved in a plot to assassinate Pope Pius XIII (played by prominent San Francisco businessman Cyril Magnin) during his upcoming visit to San Francisco. Charlie has murdered his twin in order to impersonate him. The following day, Rupert kidnaps Fergie and uses him to lure Gloria into a trap. She manages to hide in a massage parlor, where she encounters Stanley yet again, but then is found and abducted by Jackson and Stiltskin.

At Gloria's request, Stella has researched an organization known as the Tax the Churches League, and discovered that the League is a radical fringe group, founded by one Delia Darrow and her husband. For the Darrows, organized religion is a corrupt, greedy sham involving powerful billion-dollar corporations. Stella gives the results of her findings to Tony, who returns to the Archbishop's residence with Mr. Hennessy. Sneaking into the basement, Tony discovers the imprisoned Fergie, who informs him that Stiltskin was hired by the Darrows to assassinate the Pope during a performance of The Mikado at the San Francisco Opera House that evening. Tony is attacked by Rupert and kills him in self-defense, but then is held at gunpoint along with Gloria by the fake archbishop's assistant Gerda Caswell (Rachel Roberts) — who is really Delia Darrow.

Darrow then details her "contingency plan" to eliminate the Pope: If His Holiness is not yet terminated at the end of Act I, Whitey Jackson will open fire from one of the auditorium's two organ bays ("He will also open fire should the Pope unexpectedly leave his seat, or if the police arrive in the auditorium," Darrow explains). Mr. Hennessy knocks out Charlie and defeats Delia in a martial arts duel, and Tony and Gloria race to the Opera House, having some unusual problems along the way. After making it backstage, Gloria is grabbed by Jackson, who kills one of several security guards who have joined the pursuit. An enraged Gloria attempts to attack Jackson, who simply shoves her to the floor. This gives Tony the room he needs to shoot the albino, thus thwarting the plan to kill the Pope. As the performance ends, Gloria and Tony are revealed onstage along with the now-dead bodies of Jackson and the guard, but the Pope, who seems not to have noticed anything unusual, leads the audience in applause for the cast, the orchestra, and the conductor - Stanley Tibbets (Dudley Moore).



FOUL PLAY (1978). Goldie Hawn is a librarian pursued by Chevy Chase, a detective. She is quite alluring at the party in the opening scene, in contrast to how she looks when she goes to work in her sensible shoes. Two other librarians stand out against Hawn's youthful blonde hair and innocence. Marilyn Sokol is a young, attractive, dark-haired man-hater (Stella), while Frances Bay is an older grey-haired woman (Mrs. Russel) who takes home an arm full of books to read.



In an early scene at the San Francisco Public Library, the place is closed and Gloria Mundy (Goldie Hawn) is preparing to leave, wearing a raincoat and juggling a purse and umbrella -- while continuing to shelve books. She's beautiful, dresses for the times (long comfy skirts, remember? and braless) and now and then dons enormous black-framed glasses. Stella (Marilyn Sokol), her buddy and fellow librarian, does reference work for her and also teaches her the fine art of brass knuckles and mace. The scriptwriter's intention of showing Gloria as the librarian hiding from life after a painful divorce is reflected more in the never-ending Barry Manilow song than the storyline itself. Watch this one more for great comedy from Dudley Moore in his prime than for library themes. Notable quote:

Friend to Gloria: "So, what's going on tonight?"
Gloria: "Oh, nothing special. I'm gonna go to a movie."
Friend to Gloria: "By yourself?"
Gloria: "Yes."
Friend to Gloria: "Gloria, this has got to stop. Just because you've had one bad experience doesn't mean that you give up."
Gloria: "I haven't given up. I came to this party, didn't I?"
Friend to Gloria: "Ever since the divorce, you lock yourself in that library and hide behind those glasses ... Look at you. You used to be a cheerleader. You used to show some cleavage!"
Gloria: "What?"
Friend to Gloria: "Let's see some skin, shake your booty. Take some chances. What are you playing, old maid?"
Gloria: "I'm not playing anything ... "
Friend to Gloria: "That's the trouble!"

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